Do you happen to remember your dream from your last nights’ sleep? Or a dream from a couple months ago? Or one that keeps reoccurring? Maybe a nightmare?
We all dream. We sometimes even day dream. Have you ever been sitting in class and completely space out and start dreaming; picturing a whole scenario in your head and then quickly realizing you’re totally lost in what the teacher is saying and you’re asking yourself why on earth you were just thinking about that specific thought? Well I have, and I am curious as to what makes me do so.
I am a big believer in dreams. I’m always amazed at how dreams can be sweet, scary, upsetting, or wishful. Like we are processing information in our sleep, but the dreams don’t always match up to how we felt when we went to sleep. Maybe subconsciously we are sorting things out in a different way. I have noticed that before falling asleep my mind tends to wander and when I wake up, I have found that I had dreamt about what I was thinking about before falling into my REM. Especially when I am stressed about something, I dream about the situation I am stressed about, which usually end up in pretty embarrassing or traumatic situations.
I also tend to think there is a hidden metaphor in dreams; something in your subconscious that is a reality. Dreams can be problem solving. I believe we dream about things that are either troubling us or that we are trying to work through or understand. For example, sometimes we may place people in settings we wish they were in. Dreams can also make you remember something or someone you’ve pushed aside. Dreams are your own “reality.”
From a scientific point of view, dreams are a physiological process. Current theories suggest that dreams are the body’s way of “rebooting” the brain. In essence, the purpose of dreams is to get rid of the “garbage” that is cluttering the mind and therefore allowing the brain’s complex chemistry to stabilize. Researchers have been studying dreams forever, but with new technological advances, more conclusions have been made. According to Scientific America, the brain functions that operate while we are dreaming are exactly the same as those that function while we are alert and recalling the previous night’s dreams. Some people keep a dream book and journal next to their bed, so when they wake up they can immediately write down their dreams and analyze them. Others are unable to remember their dreams so they don’t put a lot of weight into them, but does that mean that they didn’t dream? Are those who are able to remember their dreams not in a true deep sleep? Outside factors, such as exercise, alcohol, hormones, etc. are all a part of your sleep cycle. When thinking about whether dreams actually have a purpose, all these questions and ideas play a role.